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Dinner Group in August

Last night was my turn to host the dinner group that I do with a few friends.  I posted about this dinner group before, explaining how it is the best way ever to host a dinner party.  My friend, Krystal, came up with the plan.  She said a friend had done a dinner group like this one and loved it.  We started about a year ago, with the intention of getting together once a month.  Some months are crazier than others and we have to skip, but I was excited to host this month!  Everything is just easier in the summertime. 
For those of you who aren’t regular readers of my blog, the whole idea behind our dinner group is that the host chooses the recipes and purchases the ingredients, but doesn’t do any of the cooking ahead of time.  Each guest and the host cooks one of the dishes. The rule is, that you can’t choose recipes that you’ve ever made before.  It has to be something new.  Now, those of you who know me know that I am NOT an adventurous eater.  Sometimes the recipes have really prompted me to venture out of my comfort zone!  
I decided we would have a honey themed party this time.  Each recipe I chose involved honey in some way.  We started off with a honey and cheese table. 
 I went down to my local Central Market, which has a lot of specialty items.  I told the people in the cheese section what my plan was and they got REALLY excited.  Honestly, I think I made their day!  They guided me in my cheese and honey pairings and explained way more about the flavors of cheese and honey together than I would really ever need to know. Williams-Sonoma also has a great blog post on honey tasting. One of the cheese blocks I bought (the one that practically made the cheese man jump up and down with joy) used crushed honey comb from bees outside of a monastery in France, around the edge of the cheese.  (At least I think that’s how his story went.  I started hearing, “Wah, wah, wah.  Waaaah.  Wah. Wah.”  It was a little overwhelming.) By the way, when you go to a fancy cheese store and they show you the cheese you should buy, look at the cheese but then ask for something less expensive.  Wow!  Who knew cheese could be so expensive!
We were all kind of shocked by different flavors that the different honey had.  We used Clover, Raspberry, and Blackberry honey.  Obviously, the cheese had different flavors too.  I should have kept track of the different types of cheese, but I forgot to write them down for later!  I tried to remember which honey was supposed to go with certain cheeses, but in the end, I couldn’t remember.  We just snacked and enjoyed our cheese and honey pairings.
I’m not a drinker, but my friends usually serve some sort of yummy drink when they host the dinner group.  I found a recipe for a peach and honey drink that sounded good.  It called for Jack Daniels’ Honey Whiskey.  Ummm.  That’s a $32 bottle of alcohol that I will never use again!  My local Safeway had Jim Bean Honey Whiskey for $10, so that’s the one I chose to use.  I forgot to take a picture of the drinks but they were very pretty.  The recipe called for equal amounts of whiskey, peach nectar, and sparkling water, with a little honey mixed into the drink.  Yes, I tried the drink!  I took a taste and it was very honey/peachy.   I had about half of the drink and then I promptly handed it over to my hubby.  I just don’t like the alcohol flavor.  Bleck.

I set up a little table on my deck so we could eat dinner outside.  I love that tablecloth.  It’s a pretty linen cloth that was my grandma’s from many years ago.  The folding chairs were my grandparents’ too.  I just love the antiquey feel.
On the menu tonight was grilled corn with honey basil butter, chicken with a honey Thai rub, and a pear and blue cheese salad with honey glazed walnuts.  Overall, I LOVED the salad and HATED the chicken.  I thought the grilled corn was really yummy.  I’ve never grilled corn right in the husks so that was something new for me.  

For dessert, we had a apple tart drizzled with honey.  
 I’ve never been a huge fan of honey, so this was something new for me.  I’ve used honey in recipes, but I don’t usually put honey on anything and just eat it.  I have to say, I kind of like it, especially the honey and cheese pairings.  That was surprisingly yummy!
It was such a nice party and a perfectly relaxed evening.  Thanks for coming, friends!
Happy party planning!

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